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In the Albert Chevalier song Wot' Cher from 1891 we have the following

Last week down our alley came a toff
Nice old geezer with a nasty cough.
Sees my missus, takes his topper off
In a very gentlemanly way!
"Ma'am" says he, "I 'ave some news to tell,
Your rich uncle Tom of Camberwell,
Popp'd off recent, which it ain't a sell,
Leaving you 'is little donkey shay."

I do not see a meaning for sell in the dictionary here that could match the context in this song. Does anyone have any ideas what the songwriter meant by this? —This unsigned comment was added by Hauskalainen (talkcontribs).

It is verb sense 3, promoting a viewpoint, manipulating. The toff is saying "what I'm saying ain't a sell: I am not trying to con you". Very interesting quotation, thank you. Robert Ullmann 19:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

The Katherine Mansfield quotation referenced at sense 2 I think is in fact another instance of sense 3. It goes like this:

Emmie Cole started the whisper. "Lil Kelvey's going to be a servant when she grows up." "O-oh, how awful! " said Isabel Burnell, and she made eyes at Emmie. Emmie swallowed in a very meaning way and nodded to Isabel as she'd seen her mother do on those occasions. "It's true—it's true—it's true," she said. Then Lena Logan's little eyes snapped. " Shall I ask her ? " she whispered. "Bet you don't," said Jessie May. "Pooh, I'm not frightened," said Lena. ... "Watch! Watch me! Watch me now! " said Lena. And .. giggling behind her hand, Lena went over to the Kelveys. Lil looked up from her dinner. She wrapped the rest quickly away. Our Else stopped chewing. What was coming now ? "Is it true you're going to be a servant when you grow up, Lil Kelvey ? " shrilled Lena. Dead silence. But instead of answering, Lil only gave her silly, shamefaced smile. She didn't seem to mind the question at all. What a sell for Lena ! The girls began to titter. Lena couldn't stand that.Impregnable (talk) 17:39, 26 October 2016 (UTC)